Longtime Bay Village educator Sean McAndrews is looking forward to getting back to his roots in a warmer setting.
The 56-year-old Bay Middle School principal will leave his post this month to take a job as assistant principal for curriculum and instruction at Barron Collier High School in Naples, Florida. He worked for 19 years in the Bay Village City School District, serving as principal of the middle school since 2005.
Prior to that, he was assistant principal at Bay High School after joining the district in 2001. He also was a house principal at Lakewood High School as well as a social studies teacher in Lakewood and at St. Boniface School in Cleveland.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time at the middle school because the students, staff and community made it such a great place to work,” McAndrews said. “But I’ve always had a strong interest in curriculum and how it affects teaching and educating the students. I’ll be able to have a strong impact on that in this position.”
Working at the high school level also appeals to McAndrews.
“I’ve always enjoyed the high school setting and ability to work with students on how they learn and prepare for their next steps in life,” McAndrews said. “I enjoyed my time in Lakewood at that level and working at Bay High School under longtime Principal Jim Cahoon was a great experience.”
Having family in Florida also helped lead McAndrews to his new job.
“My in-laws are there, and my parents also go there a lot,” he said. “It’s no secret I don’t like cold weather, so I’ve wanted to retire to Florida. So, when this job came up, I took a chance, applied for it and ended up getting it. So this takes me closer to some family and retirement in a job and setting I’ll enjoy.”
McAndrews left his mark, Bay High School Principal Jason Martin said.
“I replaced him as assistant principal at the high school when he went to the middle school and he left a legacy of caring for the students and making sure they got a good education,” Martin said. “I’ve also enjoyed working with him as a fellow administrator in the district.”
Aaron Ereditario, who was the Bay High School assistant principal this past school year, will replace McAndrews as the middle school principal.
Former Bay Superintendent Clint Keener, who worked with McAndrews for more than a decade, predicts McAndrews will excel in his new role.
“I think of him as a master principal because not only is he a fine administrator, he’s always had a strong interest in curriculum and using it to benefit the students in the best possible way,” Keener said.
McAndrews is able to combine his passion for education with a caring personality, Keener said.
“Sean is a warm, caring person who is a top educator at many levels,” Keener said. “He’s developed many strong relationships and cares about his students succeeding in the classroom and life.That shows in how well the middle school did under his leadership.”
Keener cited McAndrews as a leader in using Bay Family Services, a program where the city and schools work together to provide counseling and support for families dealing with problems including emotional issues and substance abuse. McAndrews also adopted the use of Preventure, a program that identifies personality traits that could lead to drug and alcohol abuse. The program is designed to help students recognize and manage those traits, while developing a strategy to avoid or stop the problems.
For McAndrews, that was a key part of the job.
“Students and people can make mistakes,” McAndrews said. “We try to help them learn from those mistakes so it doesn’t cause them additional problems and we try to give them different ways to do that, whether it’s talking with the right person, providing a helpful diversion program or something else.”
McAndrews said he can be tough if the need is there.
“Sometimes, you have to let them know there are consequences,” he said. “The key is helping them move forward afterwards.”
McAndrews said it’s gratifying to see students grow and change.
“You see them advance academically and emotionally and it’s great to see,” McAndrews said. “It’s also great when some of them come back and tell you what they’re doing or how you made an impact on them.”
He cited one recent contact with a former student.
“I got a wonderful message the other day from a student who had some struggles and went on to graduate college, truly through her own efforts,” McAndrews said. “She sent me a photo of her graduation cap that had Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote written on top: ‘Well-behaved women rarely make history.’ She wanted me to see that, and I am so proud of her.”
When he reflects on his time in Bay Village, McAndrews said the emphasis on education is what he appreciates the most.
“Educating the ‘whole child’ is not just talk here,” McAndrews said. “Our children succeed because we have a supportive community and dedicated staff. Our teachers are true professionals, second to none. I’ve succeeded because I give our teachers the freedom to do what they do. They give our students the social and emotional support, as well as the academic support, that is needed to succeed. I will miss those relationships the most.”
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